Fuad al-Takarli was born in Baghdad and graduated in law from Baghdad University in 1949. He worked in the Ministry of Justice, was made a judge in 1956, and rose to be head of the Court of Appeal in Baghdad. In 1983 he resigned from this post to devote himself to writing. He studied law in Paris from 1964 to 1966 and lived briefly in Paris again during the 1980s. Since 1990 he has lived in Tunis. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Owais Prize for the Arabic Novel. Catherine Cobham teaches Arabic at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and has translated a number of contemporary Arab writers, including Yusuf Idris, Naguib Mahfouz, and Hanan al-Shaykh.